Organisations prepare to resolve issues after former Colchester-based soldier who was injured on tour claims needs are not being met

Lance Bombardier Ben Parkinson MBE leads the veterans in the 7th Parachute Regiment Royal Horse Arti

Lance Bombardier Ben Parkinson MBE leads the veterans in the 7th Parachute Regiment Royal Horse Artillery parade. Picture: CPL OBI IGBO - Credit: Cpl Obi Igbo

A soldier who lost his legs and suffered more than 40 injuries while serving in Afghanistan is expected to receive a full care assessment as soon as possible, his lawyers have said.

Ben Parkinson. Picture: CONTRIBUTED

Ben Parkinson. Picture: CONTRIBUTED

Lance Bombardier Ben Parkinson, 33, from Colchester’s 7th Parachute Regiment, was hit in a landmine blast in 2006.

His Land Rover had detonated an anti-tank mine, and the explosion also left L/Bdr Parkinson with brain damage affecting his memory and speech.

Since then, the paratrooper’s care has been provided for by Ministry of Defence (MoD), NHS England and Doncaster Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG).

Earlier this week, however, he and his mother, Diane Dernie, called on them to explain gaps in his support and request more is done to help.

Mrs Dernie also said her son does not receive enough funding to cover the costs of around-the-clock care, and lawyers argued the £540,000 compensation he was given is not enough to cover his “ongoing and extensive care requirements”.

Today his lawyers at Irwin Mitchell said the MoD had confirmed it is their responsibility to commission primary care for Ben and NHS England has agreed it is responsible for commissioning community and secondary care for him.

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They said this means NHS England will take over funding L/Bdr Parkinson’s personal health budget from the CCG following a “full care assessment” which will take place as soon as possible.

The MoD has also offered to convene a meeting between the parties to resolve the issues, the lawyers said.

Alice Cullingworth, Ben’s solicitor at Irwin Mitchell said: “It is very good news that the organisations involved appear eager to resolve the issues regarding Ben’s care.

“Whilst we are hopeful the action proposed will resolve all the failings, we will be monitoring closely to ensure his needs are all going to be met.

“We will be asking the parties to confirm a tight timetable for the assessment and a round table meeting, because the issues with Ben’s care are urgent as he is shortly due to have surgery.”

L/Bdr Parkinson’s mother Diane added: “While we are delighted that it seems there is some movement towards improving Ben’s care, we are disappointed that we needed to enlist lawyers to help us get to this point.

“We hope that it will not be necessary to go to court, so long as NHS England and the MoD get together and work out how all Ben’s care needs will be met now and in the future.

“We have recently faced a number of issues with support and it has been difficult to identify who is responsible for what parts of Ben’s care.

“But there is now light at the end of the tunnel and we just hope that we will now get the help he needs.

“We felt like we had been left with no option but to seek legal help - not just for Ben but also to stop other injured personnel facing this in the future.”

L/Bdr Parkinson is currently waiting for new wheelchairs and broken gym equipment to be replaced, the family said.

They say there is also not enough funding to pay carers to provide respite cxare, to take him swimming and for other rehabilitation treatments he needs.

Earlier this week, an MoD spokeswoman said: “We work closely with veterans and service personnel to ensure they receive the appropriate level of care.

“We are developing a new initiative with the NHS to provide patient-centred support.”

A spokeswoman for NHS England added: “The NHS takes the healthcare for members of the armed forces very seriously and, as a serving member, Ben Parkinson currently has a comprehensive package of care funded by the NHS and the Ministry of Defence, which will be reassessed whenever needed.

“We are working with the organisations involved to arrange appropriate reviews of Ben’s ongoing care and treatment requirements.”

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